For nearly four decades, attorney Randall “Randy” Sevenish has been an avid motorcycle enthusiast and rider. He is a “Real Motorcycle Lawyer and Real Rider©” unlike others who may have their photo taken while sitting on a motorcycle for a marketing campaign. He knows the physics and dynamics of riding a motorcycle, and he knows and understands motorcycle injury law. He also appreciates the losses that motorcycle riders suffer in a crash.
As a fellow rider actually seen on the road with other bikers, he and his firm have in the past and continue to sponsor numerous motorcycle events, especially when raising money for children, slain police officers or other worthy events and causes. He is also a regular speaker at many HOG chapters, clubs and events and contributing author for motorcycle publications, including the Road Guardians and Thunder Road Indiana Magazine, to name just two.
This is why bikers know, like and can trust him as a lawyer. In fact, the Sevenish Law Firm is the only law firm in Indiana that has been recommended by the nationally recognized www.RoadGuardians.org, an organization dedicated to the education and safety of its members. Road Guardians also offers extensive and certified safety for motorcyclists and occasionally hosts a national convention known as the “Biker’s Betterment Conference” in the Chicagoland area. When so doing, Mr. Sevenish is the lead attorney on the panel and speaker at these events on legal issues affecting motorcyclists.
Please review the following information to learn more about your rights and options after a motorcycle crash. To discuss the specific facts of your case, don’t hesitate to contact Sevenish Law Firm. Our consultations are always free and geared towards answering all of your questions.
Causes of Indiana Motorcycle Accidents
It should come as no surprise to any biker that a large percentage of motorcycle accidents are caused by the inability or failure of an automobile driver to actually see the motorcyclist. Crashes may also be caused by a car driver:
- Following the motorcyclist too closely, or “tailgating”
- Failing to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist
- Attempting to pass the motorcyclist too closely or “share” a lane
- Taking deliberate action to intimidate the motorcyclist.
If any of the above has occurred in your case, you may have the right to assert a personal injury claim against the at-fault car driver.
A motorcycle accident may also be caused by a defectively designed or manufactured brake, gear or tire. If a motorcycle defect causes a crash, the manufacturer of the motorcycle or part may be held liable.
Additionally, if road conditions were unsafe, and it can be shown that the government entity responsible for the upkeep of the road knew of the hazardous condition, that entity could possibly be liable for damages.
Of course, in many cases, a motorcyclist may be at fault. If you were a passenger on a bike driven by a negligent motorcyclist, you should not hesitate to take legal action and protect your rights in that event, either.
Damages in an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you have been injured through no fault of your own while riding a motorcycle in Indiana, you can generally seek to recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages (past and future as well as impaired earning capacity)
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering (physical and emotional)
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages (if the at-fault party’s conduct was malicious).
If the at-fault party’s conduct was malicious, punitive damages may be sought as well. Please see our section on wrongful death to learn more about damages that may be sought if a motorcycle accident has led to the loss of your loved one.
If you partially contributed to your motorcycle crash, you may still recover damages. Under Indiana law, if you were 50 percent or less at fault, your recovery would be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
You would only be barred from recovering anything if you were 51 percent or more at fault. It is well known in nearly every case involving a motorcycle that a claims adjuster will assert some degree of comparative fault on the part of the motorcyclist and, in many cases, deny a claim, alleging the biker is more than 50 percent at fault.
In such cases, we are well known, given the right circumstances, to convince an insurance company to reverse such a denial position, using a variety of proper investigative techniques.
It is important to work with a lawyer who will keep insurance companies honest and fight any attempt to put undue blame on you for causing your crash as well as with an experienced motorcycle injury lawyer who knows and understands motorcycle injury law inside and out.
Insurance Coverage in Indiana Motorcycle Accidents
After establishing liability and assessing the extent of damages in a motorcycle accident, the next step will be to determine available insurance coverage. The policies involved in your case may include:
- Bodily injury and property damage liability – Indiana motorists are required to have this coverage. It pays for damages that you cause in a crash. So, if an auto driver caused your crash, you would initially turn to that driver’s liability insurance.
- Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) – This is coverage you can purchase from your insurance company. You can turn to this coverage if the at-fault driver does not have enough liability insurance to fairly compensate you.
Many Indiana drivers carry only the required minimum amounts of liability coverage ($25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for bodily injury and $10,000 per accident for property damage). Typically, the loss an injured motorcyclist suffers far exceeds these amounts. In that sense, UIM can play an important role in your case.
So, it remains in the motorcyclist’s best interests to carry as much UIM coverage as possible. We recommend for “minimum responsible coverage” to be $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident, with a $1,000,000 umbrella on your homeowner’s coverage. Call us for more details about this often confusing coverage.
- Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) – This is another form of coverage that you have the option to buy. In fact, you should have UM coverage unless you have rejected it in writing. This coverage kicks in if the at-fault driver has no insurance at all.
Know What You Can and Cannot Control
- What you cannot control – Motorcyclists and motor vehicle drivers in general, for that matter, cannot control who causes them to be injured in a crash. You cannot control whether the at-fault driver is a private individual or an employee or agent of a small or large company or even a government agency. You cannot control in any of the above scenarios IF a driver or vehicle is insured and, if so, how much the coverage is.
And although some private individuals have larger insurance coverage – most at-fault drivers are either Uninsured (having no insurance at all) or Underinsured (having insurance coverage but not enough to properly compensate you). No one wants to be in a crash, but if you had to be in one – you would select a driver employed by a large company with plenty of insurance coverage versus someone unemployed with either little to no insurance coverage right? Since you can’t select who causes your injury, focus on what you can control.
- What you can control – You can control whether you have insurance coverage and how much you have. You should assume every driver on the road is either Uninsured or Underinsured. As such, by utilizing the below suggested “minimum responsible coverages,” you will protect yourself and your family from financial devastation unless you suffer, God Forbid, a catastrophic injury. You are in essence buying insurance coverage for others less responsible than you, and such coverages will protect you in the vast majority of crashes you may find yourself in. Otherwise, when and if this happens, you will be very glad you did as suggested or very sad if you did not. Coverage issues can be complicated. Don’t hesitate to call with any questions or for guidance.
So, needless to say, Sevenish Law Firm strongly recommends purchasing UM/UIM coverage if you are a motorcyclist or any kind of driver – even a bicyclist – including “excess” or “umbrella” coverage. It only costs a few dollars in premiums, and it can make a huge difference if you are hurt in a crash. Understand that motorcyclists are more times than not seriously injured when involved in a crash due to the fact that they are not surrounded by a steel cage.
Additionally, you may be able to recover funds to pay for damage to your motorcycle if you have purchased:
- Collision coverage – Covers damage that results from an impact with another object such as a car, tree, pole or road sign.
- Comprehensive coverage – Pays for losses caused by factors such as wind, rain, theft or a collision with a deer or other animal.
- Custom parts and equipment coverage (CPE) – Covers a portion of damages to any custom parts on your motorcycle.
Recommended Responsible Minimum
Insurance Coverage for Indiana Motorists
|Bodily Injury Limits:||$250,000||$500,000|
|Property Damage Limits:||n/a||$25,000|
|Medical Payments:||$25,000||(or higher if you have no health insurance & is
payable to rider/passenger regardless of fault)
|Umbrella Liability Coverage:|
|Uninsured Motorists (UM) Coverage:|
|Bodily Injury Limits:||$250,000||$500,000|
|Property Damage Limits:||n/a||Equal to Value of Vehicle|
|Underinsured Motorists (UIM) Coverage:|
|Bodily Injury Limits:||$250,000||$500,000|
|Excess/Umbrella Coverage with Um/UIM Coverage:|
Note: Your individual situation may differ from above.
Contact an Indianapolis Motorcycle Accident Attorney
While you recover from your injury after a motorcycle accident, Sevenish Law Firm can work directly with insurance companies and seek a full and fair settlement in your case. However, if insurance companies fail to make a reasonable offer, attorney and motorcycle lawyer Randy Sevenish will be ready to fight for you in court.
Don’t wait to take action after a crash. Instead, reach out to a motorcycle lawyer who is a known and highly respected motorcycle advocate that truly respects the rights of motorcyclists in Indianapolis and across Indiana and who will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact our personal injury law office in Indianapolis today to get started with a free consultation to learn about your options.